In a role reversal, a surprisingly successful export from the U.S. has been selling chopsticks to China.
Georgia Chopsticks, based in Americus, Ga., is the only U.S.-based maker of the ancient wooden utensils.
Because of a timber shortage among the trees used for chopsticks, many of the 2 million sets made each day in Georgia using native poplar and sweet gum trees are shipped overseas.
In response to its recent success, the company plans to boost its production capability to as many as 10 million pairs a day over the next year.
Even with that increase, demand could be massively larger if the Chinese wood shortage persists. Each year, Chinese manufacturers carve out some 63 billion chopsticks a year; Japan, another potential marketplace, uses about 23 billion.